Patterns of prey selection by wolves in Denali National Park, Alaska

Occasional Publication of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute 35
By: , and 
Edited by: Ludwig N. CarbynSteven H. Fritts, and Dale R. Seip


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The patterns of selection by wolves (Canis lupus) preying on moose (Alces alces), caribou (Rangifer tarandus), and Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska were studied from 1986 through early 1992. Wolves and their prey are legally protected or relatively unharvested in most of the area, and wolf numbers doubled during the study. Based on remains of 294 moose, 225 caribou, and 63 sheep, wolves killed calves and old adults disproportionately, and individuals with low marrow fat, jaw necrosis, or arthritis. Seasonal trends in proportions of various species, ages, and sex of kills were found. During the winters following winters of deep snowfalls, wolves greatly increased the proportion of caribou cows and calves taken. We conclude that in a natural system, wolves can survive on vulnerable prey even during moderate weather, and when snowfall exceeds average, they can respond by switching to newly vulnerable prey and greatly increasing their numbers.

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Patterns of prey selection by wolves in Denali National Park, Alaska
Series title Occasional Publication of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute
Series number 35
ISBN 0-919058-92-2
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Canadian Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta
Publisher location Edmonton, AB
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 13 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Ecology and conservation of wolves in a changing world: Proceedings of the second North American symposium on wolves: Occasional Publication 35
First page 231
Last page 243
Conference Title Second North American Symposium on Wolves
Conference Location Edmonton, AB
Conference Date 25-27 August 1992
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